The Supreme Court expanded a property owner’s rights in eminent domain cases by requiring that the state show a substantial connection between the harm asserted by the state and its proposed remedy.
The Nollans owned a small beachfront house they wished to expand. As a condition for a permit, California asked the Nollans to grant a permanent beach access easement, asserting that this access would alleviate the problem of the public being unable to view the ocean. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled against California, finding that the connection between the public harm and the state’s proposed remedy was too tenuous, thereby limiting the broad right of eminent domain states had enjoyed in the past. The public easement, the Court argued, did not improve the public’s view of the ocean. In the majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia
Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co.
Public use doctrine